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Feb 5, 2019 5:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town ZBA Expected To Delay Southampton Country Day Camp Decision

The owner of the Southampton Raquet Club and Camp has an application before the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals to change the tennis camp to a day camp. GREG WEHNER
Feb 6, 2019 10:24 AM

The Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals is expected on Thursday, February 7, to postpone a ruling on whether the owner of a North Sea tennis camp will be allowed to operate as a day camp for kids.

ZBA Chairman Adam Grossman said on Monday that the ruling had been tentatively slated for this week but instead will be put off until March 7.

Mr. Grossman would not say what the board’s decision would be, but said it was being held off at the request of the applicant, Jay Jacobs.

On Tuesday, however, Mr. Jacobs said the request for more time came from the town, and he agreed to it. He noted that he heard not every board member had time to review the material.

“As I am convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that the science, the law, the facts and our arguments can only lead to a positive disposition of our application, it seemed to me that providing more time, as requested, would be in our best interest and would be fairer to the members of the zoning board who deserve the time to thoroughly read the material submitted,” Mr. Jacobs said in an email this week.

Mr. Jacobs has served as the Nassau County Democratic Committee chairman for nearly 20 years, and has always upheld that he has a right to make changes to his property.

In this case, he wants to open a summer day camp to meet the growing demand for children’s summer camps.

The town has been reviewing Mr. Jacob’s proposal to change the use of his property, which is located in a residential neighborhood, from a tennis camp to a summer day camp. Up until 2006, the facility operated as a membership tennis club, which was a pre-existing and non-conforming use.

The ZBA found in 2012 that the property could not be zoned for anything other than a tennis facility and tossed the issue over to the Planning Board for an environmental review.

In September 2018, Planning Board members determined, after a State Environmental Quality Review Act review, that Mr. Jacobs could operate a children’s summer camp without harming the environment, and the application was sent back to the ZBA.

Now the ZBA is in the process of determining whether Mr. Jacobs can move forward with the project.

But neighbors of the property have been up in arms about Mr. Jacob’s proposal, claiming it will disturb their quiet neighborhood, located around Little Fresh Pond, and add stress to the property’s sewage system.

“The neighborhood has united in its opposition, even those initially unconvinced of its devastating impact,” Foster Maer of Southampton said in a letter this week. “We simply ask the zoning board to keep the property’s zoning designation as it is, as status that allows him to run a tennis camp for kids as a secondary use as he claims to be doing right now.”

Some neighbors are also concerned that the added traffic and alterations to the camp could harm a recently sighted bald eagle around the pond.

The Town Trustees recently designated Little Fresh Pond as a waterfowl sanctuary to protect the large number of birds that frequent the pond.

“It’s very important that the birds have a place to rest during hunting season,” Town Trustee Bill Pell said.

Some questioned whether the move was made to block Mr. Jacob’s desire to create a day camp, but Mr. Pell said it was not. He added that the sanctuary should not have any impact on whether the camp moves forward or not and that the Trustees were just looking to protect the birds from hunters.

The ultimate decision to allow Mr. Jacobs to move forward with his application, however, was expected to be handed down on Thursday, but now is expected to be delayed another 30 days.

“I am fine with the 30 days,” he said. “I just want every member to read the material.”

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...despite the fact that Jacobs thinks he can "make changes to his property" the ZBA ruled he can't. Isn't that case closed? A pre--exisitng, non-conforming use never allowed a change of zone - you had to keep things the way they were or you lost the use. What's different here? Because he's a politico, because he sued? Developer-driven zoning is going to ruin ruin this town
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Feb 6, 19 12:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Should we believe Jacob or Grossman.The ZBA is a mess.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Feb 6, 19 3:29 PM